INTERVIEW – On July 11, the journalist found viewers for the midday edition. The septuagenarian confides in this role that he has played for 25 years now.
His diary is in his image. Jacques Legros advocates a 13 Hours of ” proximity “ with viewers through the subjects it offers. Both on screen and when we meet him, the journalist generously shares anecdotes and points of view related to his experience of more than 40 years in the media. As joker of TF1, he is also celebrating his 25th summer this year. Next October, Marie-Sophie Lacarrau’s replacement will also release a book entitled Behind the screen – 40 years at the heart of the media, in which he talks about his career on television (France Info, LCI…) and on radio (France Inter, RTL). In the continuity of our summer series, Jacques Legros, who concedes to do from now on “part of the furniture” of the TF1 channel, shares his vision, his memories and the stakes of the role of news joker.
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LE FIGARO. – How do you see this summer at the JT?
Jacques LEGROS. – It is a constant. I always think that summer is going to be cool, like a moment of grace in a year that’s a bit heavy in news, and every time I screw up… Summer represents the worst times. We have had terrible fires for more than ten days, a truly exceptional heat wave. We still reached 42 degrees in Paris, it’s not a gift! So like every year, I go with my little swimsuit to the newspaper and finally, quickly put on the combat gear (laughs).
Beyond the unexpected, does the news remain dense in the summer?
Still. In terms of climate, events, disappearing personalities… Something is constantly happening, vacation time is no longer a parenthesis. But when the news calms down, we return to lighter subjects, in the theme of holidays, and fortunately… After months spent between the Covid, politics or conflicts, we need to escape.
How does the 13 Hours of TF1 set up “lighter” subjects for the summer?
We like to travel and take viewers to places they don’t know. In particular through the theme “must-see vacations”, a set of ten-minute topics. We were in Portugal last week, between Porto and Nazaré. This week, we are in the Luberon, one of the favorite destinations of the French.
What is the responsibility of the joker vis-à-vis the viewer?
Exactly the same as the holder. I have to admit that I’m in a somewhat unusual situation because I’m celebrating my 25th summer at 13 Heures. I’m a little part of the furniture! But I present each summer newspaper like those of Christmas or any other time of the year. With a few lighter touches that come to incorporate.
What memories do you have of your first time in this position?
A disaster ! (laughs). Even if I was already pretty well grounded after years on France Inter, France Info, RTL or LCI, and knew how to present the news in principle. But I was impressed by the power of this place, by what it represents. This TF1 set was so legendary for me. All the prestigious guests that I had been able to see during fabulous television news! They were where I was sitting!
“With Marie-Sophie Lacarrau, we have always had the principle of letting whoever is in charge do their job”.
Can a joker add a personal touch to his newscasts?
Sure. Each journalist has his own personality. If we respect a typical editorial line, it is quite possible to put a little of your passion, your convictions, your experience or experience. Newscasts evolve according to society but bringing their personal touch and sensitivity is part of the game.
What’s yours ?
One sentence sums up my state of mind. “To bring to the screen exemplary values, capable of providing solutions”. I like portraits of people doing things for others. During the fires in Gironde, we insisted on solidarity actions, like this village mayor who put himself completely at the service of the firefighters. Or this woman who came to cook to feed the firefighters. I really want to value these examples. I consider this to be one of the missions of 13 Heures, a local newspaper.
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Do you exchange with Marie-Sophie Lacarrau, holder whom you replace?
We discuss small things but have always had the principle of letting whoever is in charge do his job. For the rest, our discussions are friendly, not professional. As after his live broadcast from Narbonne on the most beautiful market in France. I wrote to him to share my great appreciation of his work. She was perfect at the controls of a not easy exercise.
What will we find in Behind the screen – 40 years at the heart of the media?
Through my experience, I offer a look at the evolution of information and more broadly of society. From the typewriter to the omnipresence of mobile phones and images in our time. When I was a child, I didn’t even have a television at home! I lived through revolutions, especially as a journalist. Ways of working and society have changed a lot. I find it interesting to share some thoughts. Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing them.
How do you view the current profession of journalist?
Difficult to answer without being either rude or dishonest… Let’s say that they are a bit like our society, made up of immediacy, mass sharing, social networks. Because of a certain youthfulness and the demand for productivity, the newsrooms no longer ask for the same reports as before. When I went to Egypt for work, I was not necessarily forced to report a subject. Today, I would have to bring back five. We are in a compression of information. In the book, I mention the creation of France Info and LCI, in which I participated. I call it “Pandora’s box”. Once opened, we no longer had much control and above all could no longer close it.
Do you have other projects after this summer?
I’m working on another book with philosopher Laura Lange. Together we will discuss topics such as the environment, idols, work, the Covid or even the IPhone… We would like to provide elements of analysis on these themes. And why not push the reader to question his own habits?
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